Azooka, Bon Ayu, Nirmai Health win National Startup Awards 2020

Bangalore, 08 October 2020: Bonayu Life Sciences, based in Bangalore, won the award in the Life Sciences category for its patented manufacturing platform for thin films used in a variety of medical treatments. Incubateded at Bangalore Bioinnovation Center, Bonayu was founded in 2015 by Mr Vishal Kataria and Ms Bhavna Basu.

In all, 1640 startups from across the country applied for the awards organized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). A 10-member jury selected more than two dozen startups in different categories for the annual awards in 2020.

Azooka Labs, also based in Bangalore got award in the category of women founded startup for its founder Dr Fathima Benazir J. The co founder is Dr Alex D Paul. Azooka is a specialty fluorescent dye company, manufacturing for genomics research and molecular diagnostics. Their first product to market, Tinto Rang, is a safe DNA stain that replaces Ethidium Bromide and SYBR dyes at a much more affordable cost, making this sort of disease diagnostics more accessible for all. It’s also safe for researchers who use nucleic acid dyes on a daily basis in labs, which is a potential mutagen and carcinogen.

In the diagnostics category, NIRAMAI Health Analytix , founded by Dr Geeta Manjunath in 2016, got the award. NIRAMAI has developed an accurate, affordable solution for detecting early stage breast cancer using artificial intelligence. The AI scans thermal imagery using a fusion of thermography and machine learning. Moreover, it works for all women above 18 years of age, whereas current screening methods do not work on women under 45. It is also portable, radiation-free and privacy-conscious.

There are two other winners in related categories.

Innaumation Medical Devices, co-founded by Mr Shashank Mahesh in 2019, has built the Aum Voice Prosthesis, a device that enables throat cancer patients who have lost their voice box to speak again. The product is affordable and takes only five minutes to insert, without the need for an operation theater. It’s one size fits all and can be customized for patients as well.

In the healthcare access segment, Wellthy Therapeutics, founded by Mr Abhishek Shah in 2015, was recognized for its Wellthy's Digital Therapeutic suite. It is is a combination of platforms working together for better health. It’s a smartphone app for patients, monitoring dashboard with real-time intervention for virtual health coaches, coaching dashboard for paramedical staff, AI powered health bot, connected devices such as smart drug delivery systems, IoT-enabled blood pressure and sugar monitoring devices, and connected activity trackers and weighing scales.

In the Incubators and Accelerators category, Villgro Innovations Foundation Private Limited, Chennai, was the national winner.

Villgro provides end-to-end intensive business support to early-stage social enterprises. Its unique incubation methodology starts right from scouting for mission-aligned enterprises, incubating them and finally exiting.

The incubation process comprises of five focal interventions — seed investing, diagnostic and solutioning panels that set strategy and milestones every 90 days, mentoring that helps the entrepreneur execute the strategy, targeted technical assistance to improve compliances, and processes, partnerships and networks that lead to a market push.

In the health category, DIPP received a total 249 applications from startups. Healthcare Access segment had the maximum applicants (118), followed by medical devices (74), life sciences (29) and diagnostics (28). To be eligible for the awards, a startup should have a product in the market, have all trade specific registrations and should have no defaults in audited financial statements.

The awards seek to recognize innovative products, solutions or scalable enterprises with high potential to generate employment, create wealth and demonstrate measurable scalable impact.

Of the 1640 applications received, Karnataka topped the list with 418 applications, or more than a quarter of national applications, indicating the continued status as a powerhouse of innovations. Maharashtra was second with 274 applications and Delhi was third with 175, followed by UP (99), Haryana (94), Gujarat (93),Telangana (82) and Tamil Nadu (75).

Three well-known life sciences startups, Azooka Life Sciences, Nirmai Health Analytx and Bon Ayu are among the winners of National Startups Awards 2020 announced by the Government of India in 16 technology sectors. The awards were announced on October 6,2020.

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